Reviews, YA Fantasy

ARC Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer

GoodReads Summary:

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

My Review:

Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s The Square Root of Summer is a mathematical, imaginative, descriptive take on time-travel, love, and fate.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is spending her summer before senior year at home with an inattentive father, exuberant brother, a ginger kitten, and a boy- Thomas- who moved to Canada when he was 12. Her previous school year was all grey and muted due to the passing of her Grandfather- Grey- and the ignorance of a boy- Jason. She barely functions, going to school, completing her work, going home- she doesn’t have any friends.But with the reappearance of Jason and Thomas, she is forced to remember her life last summer and memories of her and Thomas.

Something weird happens during the last week of school, she is thrown back in time to previous memories. But she starts to lose time in the present. Since she is a smart student, basically a genius, she analyzes these breaks in time through the lens of different theoretical quantum physics. Through her analysis, you experience Gotties heartbreak, loss, and understanding.

Hapgood’s use of expressive language is genius. It brings the passages to life and readers have a great understanding  of what Gottie is feeling in those moments. “‘Let’s try to focus on reality…’ Good luck with that. It’s the last week of term, and the atmosphere is as fizzy as carbon dioxide.” I mean who can’t picture the air around them fizzing with soda. Using this descriptive language, Hapgood is able to weave complex mathematical theories into a story, where at it’s heart, is about family, friendships, acceptance, and love.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer (love her last name) is a sweet character going through some tough life challenges. Specifically, her grandfather’s death, her understanding of her relationship with Jason the previous summer, the appearance of an old childhood friend and why they never wrote to each other. Over the past year, Gottie has forgotten herself, become invisible. She isn’t who she was and Thomas’ appearance is really questioning who Gottie is and what she wants. By going through these wormholes, Gottie is seeing herself- who she used to be, what people meant to her, what she meant to people, and how she wants to get back to being herself. But in order to come out of  the grey, into the sun, Gottie has to face herself and her past.

I absolutely adored this book and wanted to get my hands on it from the moment I read the synopsis. I love stories about time-travel, self-discovery, and romance. This is the first book I’ve read where the time-travel is explained through theoretical quantum physics and mathematical equations. And, what makes this book exceptional, it was easy to understand and comprehend.

“Take Risks. Live Boldly. Say Yes.”

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

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Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

My Review:

Veronica and I reviewed The Wrath and The Dawn together not too long ago, but she is currently busy with life so it will just me today. Though you will probably hear from her in June regarding the book.

Renee Ahdieh’s The Rose and The Dagger is a wondrous follow up to The Wrath and The Dawn. It’s full of magic, mystery, and love. It reads like a complex piece of music, words flowing around each other, bringing together an epic love story.

The novel starts right where the first left off. Shahrzad has left Khorasan to project her city, her people, her king. But she doesn’t know whom to trust or where to turn for help. She does know that the only thing to prevent this wrenched war is to break the curse. Khalid is love sick and tired, but ventures out to help rebuild his city. The relationships Shazi and Khalid have with others are strained and one wrong move could send them toppling over the edge. But if they can focus on their love for each other and the love for their families, they might find a way back to each other.

I spent this entire novel with my heart clenched. The love that Khalid and Shahrzad share is one for the ages- an epic love story that will live forever. You can see it drive these characters and their choices. And it was admirable to see others who were so unaccepting of their love, come to terms with it.

This novel was from mulitple POVs again, which always drives a story to make it stronger. I loved getting to know Irsa- Shahrzad‘s younger sister, seeing into the mind of Omar al-Sadiq- how he viewed his people, his wife, and his friends. The friends between the character’s were tested, while some broke, others held steadfast. And the twists throughout the novel were never seen until the curtain was drawn aside.

I absolutely fell in love with this retelling, with Shazi and Khalid’s love, with their friendships. And while I wish there was more, I am satisfied with the way the story  ended.

“Love was something that did much to change a person. It brought joy as it brought suffering, and in turn brought about those moments that defined one’s character.” -Omar al-Sadiq

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Reviews, YA Dystopian

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Review:

I acquired The Winner’s Curse through a book trade with the wonderful Leah over at Southern Bred, Southern Read Book Blog. This series has been all over my twitter feed and my best friend told me to give it a try. I’ve gotten book recommendations from her before and have loved everything I’ve read. So when this came up for trade I was like sure, why not. Whelp, I finished it in one day- mostly due to the fact that I was a provisional judge for the Maryland Primary and had 15 hours of me sitting and waiting for people to vote.

I really enjoyed the story Rutkoski told through Arin and Kestrel. Characters weaved in and out of each other, like a carefully plotted dance. One knowing exactly where to step and when to step, the other following those steps, but not knowing where they ended, what would happen.

Starting out, Kestrel seemed like a very one dimensional character. She didn’t care about much, was rude to people, and tried not to think. But as the story progressed I watched her unfold into this very conflicted, complex person. She was, all at once, narcissistic and self-sacrificing. There were times when she could only think about herself; in other instances, she thought only of others. These moments a disbursed sporadically throughout the book and help contribute to her final decision at the end.

Arin, on the opposite side of the story, knew how to press Kestrel, get her to speak to him about subjects and information that would help him. And Kestrel, being the naive thing she is, freely spoke. Watching Arin’s plot unfold, while his heart grew to feel for Kestrel, was heartbreaking, because in the end, his decisions drove her away.

They played a game and neither won.

I can’t wait to read the next two in the series and see where Kestrel and Arin’s decisions take them. Though, I have a feeling it will only lead to more heartache.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Reviews, YA Dystopian

ARC Review: The Island by S. Usher Evans

The Island (Madion War Series, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country’s independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian’s medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo’s survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath.

My Review:

The concept of this story is one I’ve seen on numerous occasions- enemies stranded together somewhere, forced to rely on each other for survival. It’s not a new concept and I don’t think S. Usher Evans really put a new spin on it.

Right from the start I did have a difficult time reading it. There are two POVs the story is told through and they switch off far too often for my liking- it happens many times within a chapter.

I did enjoy the plot. It is simple and easy to follow. Theo is a stubborn captain in the Raven military. Galian is the prince of Kylaen, a naive man, who is forced to join the military by his father. They both fight and crash on a deserted island, where they are forced to rely on each other. They both have stereo-typical views of the other, but because Galian is also a doctor, and through his mentor, he understands that Theo is more than an enemy. Over time they come to esteem one another.

Without spoiling, there are events that take place that confirm Theo’s thoughts about how Kylaenians treat Ravens. These events also open up Galian’s eyes and he can finally admit that Kylaen is not the best place, the war is being fought for unacceptable reasons, and the treatment of it’s people by his father, the king, is repugnant. He vows to protect Theo, if they are ever rescued, and to stand up to his father regarding the wear and the Kylaen prison Mael.

There is romance; the affection Galian and Theo feel is deep and they prove that nothing will keep them apart. But it’s also inadequate in my opinion. And I do think it is because of the POVs shifting to quickly, so often. Each time a major event takes place in the book, you see if from both sides… which I don’t necessarily need. There is a way to see two character from one person.

Overall, decent plot, but quite predictable and no new twists on this trope.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thank you to NetGalley and Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing for giving me the chance to read this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion.

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Reviews, ya contemporary

ARC Review: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Wild Swans

GoodReads Summary:

The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

My Review:

Wild Swans is a true coming of age story. One in which Ivy Milbourn must reconcile herself with her past, her mother, her grandfather, and her future. After Ivy’s mother leaves her when she is a child, Ivy’s Granddad raises her. However the summer before her senior year of high school, Ivy’s mother returns, with two additional children in tow. With her mother’s sudden appearence, Ivy starts to question her own life. She believes she is not good enough, that Granddad expects too much of her due to the Milbourn legacy. But with the help of a new friend, Connor, she explores what she wants to do with her life, and figures out a way to forgive her mother, and finally tell her Grandad the truth.

From the synopsis, I thought this book sounded very interesting, and while there a lot of aspects that would make this a great novel, I think it had too much going on with the plot. Between Granddad’s expectations, Ivy’s mother returning, Ivy falling for a guy, her best friend Alex becoming a mute in her life, it felt like there was a lot going on. And for much of the book Ivy whined- about her mother leaving her, Granddad’s exaggerations of her talents, and her best friend Alex needing space after she starts dating a guy.

It’s important to note that Spotswood treated these characters as anyone would in a realistic way. There was a transgendered child, a family trying to come to terms with this child, and a lesbian. But these were side remarks that helped to understand the attitude of the main character, but also treating these things like a normal every day occurrence. I mean, in reality, we don’t run around screaming “My best friend is a lesbian and my other best friend’s sibling is transgendered!”. We just accept who they are and move on.

I also loved how Spotswood brought feminism into the story through Claire. She really pushed the idea that me and women are equal- especially in relationships. Claire points out, many times, when Ivy stood beside Alex when he was flirting/dating/hooking up with other girls, but the moment Ivy starts to do that, Alex becomes enraged and ghosts on their friendship. Friends don’t ghost on friends.

By the end of the novel I was tired of Ivy. I was also waiting for that big climactic moment most stories have. It doesn’t even have to be huge, but for me, the moment wasn’t there. It’s small and understated and I was left wanting more. We heard about the Milbourn curse so much throughout the novel, that I thought maybe something was going to happen with that. Nope it doesn’t. So while this is a good book about reconciling your past and coming to terms with who you are versus who people want you to be, I felt like something was missing.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this ARC in return for an honest reviw. Receiving this ARC for free does not  sway my opinion in any way.

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Reviews

ARC Review: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Everyone Brave is Forgiven

GoodReads Summery:

It’s 1939 and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blueblood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, mentally disabled, or—like Mary’s favorite student, Zachary—have colored skin.

Tom, an education administrator, is distraught when his best friend, Alastair, enlists. Alastair, an art restorer, has always seemed far removed from the violent life to which he has now condemned himself. But Tom finds distraction in Mary, first as her employer and then as their relationship quickly develops in the emotionally charged times. When Mary meets Alastair, the three are drawn into a tragic love triangle and—while war escalates and bombs begin falling around them—further into a new world unlike any they’ve ever known.

Review:

I am a lover of World War II (as demented as that may sound). I live for the documentaries and movies that take place during that time period. And this book absolutely stole my heart.

We experience the war through several different points of view, and if I didn’t know that this was a work of fiction I could truly believe that this story, or something similar, took place in real life. This story is about real life- how one lives and responds to war, death, destruction, love, and rebuilding after it’s over.

Mary North is not your average London socialite- she wants to help with the war effort and does so through teaching children the countryside neglected. Tom Shaw, her supervisor and lover, is there to support her effort. The story through their everyday life. Alistair is an exceptional young man who befalls the misfortunes of war. Hilda is the typical socialite (and I don’t understand how Mary is friends with her) who just wants love, specifically the love of a man in a uniform- she is very superficial. Zachary is one of Mary’s students who suffers through the war, but also through the racism of 1940s London.

Each person is the glue and Everyone Brave is Forgiven wouldn’t be complete without them. This book isn’t about the big moments in one’s life, but the small moments that we don’t think about or celebrate. And don’t think to know the end. If this book is about everyday life, then the ending is representative of that.

The language Cleave uses is baroque and abundant. He clearly did the research to know how these characters spoke in the 1940s. It shows real thought and courage to get the story as accurate as possible.

I have never read a Chris Cleave book before, and this book certainly was not on my TBR list. I kind of stumbled upon it thanks to NetGalley and their little emails. And I am glad I did stumble upon it. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, but also to anyone who likes realistic stories about love, loss, and rebuilding.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is beautifully gut-wrenching.

“It was a world one might still know, if everyone forgiven was brave.”

Rating: 5 out of 5Blog Signature

 

Everyone Brave is Forgiven will be available on May 3, 2016. you can purchase it at Amazon and B&N.

Disclaimer: Thank you Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for giving mr the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion.

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HAMILTON BOOK TAG!

Hamilton Book Tag

So I see book tags all the time, and I love when other people participate in them. Usually I am a reader of tags, not a participator. However, when I saw the Hamilton Book Tag, I just had to participate, given that I am absolutely obsessed with this musical. I tag anyone who is as obsessed with this musical as I am.

Let’s go!

THE QUESTIONS:
1. The Room Where It Happens: Book world you would put yourself in

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)

While this book does take place on earth, it  revolves around Greek Gods and I would love nothing more than to be a descendant of a Greek God and kick someones ass the way these characters do.

2. The Schuyler Sisters: Underrated Female Character

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

I think a lot of people wished Truthwitch focused on Iseult instead of Safi. I get where they are coming from, so I feel like Safi in underrated by readers because they see Iseult as a kickass female and Safi as immature and selfish.

3. My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anything stop them

Remembrance (The Mediator, #7)

Suze Simon is one kickass female who always goes after what she wants… it’s usually an expensive pair of black boots.

4. Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive [warn for spoilers!]

Revelation (The Guardians, Book 3)

While I won’t ever say who died in this series, I will admit to sobbing (like the kind of sobbing that happens after you watch Titanic for the first time and Jack dies and you cry for 3 plus hours…).

5. Burn: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve ever read [warn for spoilers!]

Blackhearts (Blackhearts, #1)

The end of this book made my jaw drop. I was so upset, but this book was so good that it was worth the heartbreak.

6. You’ll Be Back: Sassiest villain

Inescapable (The Premonition, #1)

I will say this series had a lot of different villains, but the sassiest was the Gancanagh.

7. The Reynolds Pamphlet – A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming [warn for spoilers!]

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

The twist and turns are numerous and make this novel so amazing!

8. Non-stop: A series you marathoned.

Residue (Residue, #1)

I was super skeptical when I started this series, but OMG I finished the first book and then bought the next three.

9. Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

I know Six of Crows shows up in a lot of my lists, but I cannot get over how amazing this book is! I mean we move through 6 different POVs. That could be a mess, but Leigh Bardugo is brilliant.

10. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history.

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

Clearly…

BONUS QUESTIONS:
1. Helpless: A relationship you were pulling for from the very start – Scarlet and Wolf from Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles).
2. Ten Duel Commandments: Favorite fight scene – Fayre and Amanarantha in A Court of Thorns and Roses.
3. Say No To This: Guilty pleasure read  – The Off-Campus Series by Elle Kennedy
4. What Comes Next: A series you wish had more books – The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot. There is never enough books, even though we have 7.5 books.
5. Right Hand Man – Favorite BROTP – Cinder and Thorn in The Lunar Chronicles
6. What’d I Miss: A book or series you were late to reading – The Wrath and The Dawn and Throne of Glass.

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Tuesday Meme

Top Ten Tuesday: “Ten Books Every x Should Read”

TopTenTuesday

Thank you to The Broke and The Bookish for this wonderful meme! If you want to learn how to participate, click here and check it out. Promise you won’t regret it.

Oh man! It has been two months since Veronica and I participated in the TTT. And it’s super great to be back at it.

This weeks TTT is “Ten Books Ever x Should Read“.

Since I am a huge fantasy junky… my TTT is “Ten Books Every Fantasy Lover Should Read “.

 1. Six of Crows cause you doesn’t love a story with magic, romance, action, heists, robbery, and more?Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

2. The Square Root of Summer. Time travel, science fiction, romance, and quantum physics. You had me at time-travel! The Square Root of Summer

3. The Wrath and The Dawn. Fairy-tale retellings? Magic carpets? Unexplained magic? Blossoming love? Uh, I’m in! And so should you! The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)

4. Half-Blood. Because I can never get enough about Greek mythology, fantasy lovers should read The Covenant Series! Greek Gods, Demi Gods, Half-bloods, Titans. So. Much. Lore. Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)

5. A Matter of Fate. This series I read last summer and it just blew me away. It’s a contemporary fantasy, making it easier to read, and more realistic… if magic and super powers were real. Also there is romance, and a love triangle (but not in a gross Twilight way.)A Matter of Fate (Fate, #1)

6. Under Different Stars. This series was quite unique. Taking place on both earth and the main character’s home planet. It definitely requires imagination and an open mind. But, none the less, it is packed full of fantasy elements. Under Different Stars (Kricket, #1)

7. Queen of the Tearling. This was an interesting fantasy read. Two queens, one with power, the other- barely functioning. They fight over land and resources, and how they came this world came to be is quite extraordinary. The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

8. Abandon. Another Greek mythology retelling, this one about Persephone and Hades. Takes place on a tiny island full of weird creatures. Abandon (Abandon, #1)

9. Fallen. I haven’t really given you any paranormal reads yet, and this one is fantastic. Angels, demons, two families at war, forbidden love. Fallen (Guardian Trilogy, #1)

10. Teardrop. A story about a girl, who if she cries, will flood the world. Based on the mythology of Atlantis. Teardrop (Teardrop Trilogy)

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Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

ARC Review: Will You Won’t You Want Me? by Nora Zelevansky

Will You Won't You Want Me?: A Novel

GoodReads Summary:

Marjorie Plum never meant to peak in high school. She was Queen Bee. Now, 10 years later, she’s lost her sparkle. At her bleakest moment, she’s surprised by renewed interest from a questionable childhood crush, and the bickering with her cranky boss—at a potentially game-changing new job—grows increasingly like flirtatious banter. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice between the life she always dreamed of and one she never thought to imagine. With the help of a precocious 11-year-old tutee, who unknowingly becomes the Ghost of Marjorie Past, and a musician roommate, who looks like a pixie and talks like the Dalai Lama, Marjorie struggles with the ultimate question: Who does she want to be? Nora Zelevansky’s Will You Won’t You Want Me? is a funny, often surprising, novel about growing up when you are already supposed to be grown.

Review:

So this isn’t the usual type of novel we review on this blog- YA. And while I would classify this as New Adult, I think the themes Nora Zelevansky writes about can cross over to the YA genre. Self-growth and maturity. Communication. Coming of age. Disillusionment.

The main character, Marjorie, is basically having a midlife crisis at the age of 28. She isn’t that popular high schooler that can just get by on her looks and status in life anymore. Her best friend moves in with her boyfriend, and only gives her 2 days notice to find a new apartment (Rude! Don’t ever do this to your roommates). She also is fired from her job. So life pretty much sucks. I mean she is called “developmentally arrested” by her friends.

But with a midlife crisis comes the ability to re-evaluate your life. Where are you? Have you accomplished what you set out to do? If not, how do we fix this? Or is this something that needs to be fixed? Are the people in your life supporting you? Or are they dragging you down? All these questions are analyzed by Zelevansky through Marjorie’s story.

I will say, as a 28 year old trying to answer these questions myself, this book was exactly what I needed to read. I am at a point in my career where, depending on my next step, I will be in my field of work for the rest of my life. Is that something I want? And while my friends are moving on, marrying, having babies, I am not– and this is where Marjorie is as well.

This novel is really self-reflective and extremely relatable.  It reflects a time in our lives that not many people speak about. Not everyone has their life figured out by 28 and reading this helped me to realize that I don’t necessarily need to have it figured out.

Of the major things I took away from this book, one quote really stuck with me– “The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Rating: 5 out of 5Blog Signature

 

 

This book will be available on April 19, 2016 and can be purchased at Amazon and B&N.

Disclaimer: Thank you  St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion.

Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked

GoodReads Summary:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Review:

Listen to Lost Boy by Ruth B while you read this. I couldn’t get it out of my head while I read Unhooked.

Recently I have been in a pirate mood. I finished The Girl From Everywhere and Blackhearts. Let me tell you, when searching for good YA pirate books, there aren’t many out there… unless you want Fabio on the cover and then that is NOT a YA book. So in my searchings, I came across Unhooked. I am not usually one for Peter Pan and Neverland stories, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

I finished Unhooked in 24 hours.

Lisa Maxwell really draws you into the story through her narrative. And what’s great, there is more than one narrative being told.

Unhooked is not your traditional Peter Pan/ Captain Hook story. It literally unhooks the classic stories you’ve heard before and spins them on their head. Maxwell shows that not all “heroes” are good and that not all “villains” are bad. It is a deeper look at the decisions a person makes and how those decisions change the course of a person’s life. The simple act of turning off a light, or signing a paper.

“Since being brought to this world, I’ve come to understand that everything I’ve ever learned about good and evil, about choices we make and the choices we must live with, have been nothing more than convenient fictions invented by those who have never been confronted by the darkness and actually forced to choose.”

At the beginning, the relationships between Gwen, the Captain, and Pan are very convoluted. You don’t know who is telling the truth and who is lying. And as the story unfolds, truths become complicated, lies destroy. The tension between Gwen and the Captain is swoon worthy. I couldn’t get enough of him.

This is what I pictured every time.

When I started reading, about 100 pages in, I tweeted that I was sure my heart was going to break before the story ended, and I was right. There is a twist I didn’t see coming and it changes everything.

If you like retellings that go more in depth with the character development, that give characters their own backgrounds and their own internal struggles, definitely read Unhooked. If you like pirate stories, with heroes, villains, magic, and romance, also read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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